Pelicans win in Payton’s return

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Pelicans guard Elfrid Payton in pregame warmups

New Orleans — The Pelicans picked-up their second win in a 4 day stretch, beating the Minnesota Timberwolves 123-114 on New Year’s Eve. While Anthony Davis was a late scratch with an illness, Elfrid Payton made his return from a hand injury and started in the game. It was his first game action since November 16th.

The Pelicans trailed early until they went on a 17-3 run in the first quarter and ended-up with the 27-22 lead through the opening quarter. A 63-51 lead at the half soon disappeared when the Timberwolves went on a run of their own, and from there on out it was back and forth. When it was all said and done, there were 11 ties and 8 lead changes.

Julius Randle led the way with a game-high 33 points to go along with 11 rebounds for his 19th double-double of the season. Jrue Holiday had a team-high 9 assists and also 26 points. In Payton’s return, he finished with 9 points and 7 assists while Darius Miller made some noise too, tying a career high with 21 points off the bench. After a sub-par shooting performance Saturday night from beyond the arc, the Pelicans responded with a 14 of 25 night from deep, going down as their second highest 3-point shooting percentage of the season (.560).

Next-up for the Pelicans (17-21) is a two game road trip, starting with the Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday, January 2nd and then at Cleveland Saturday.

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